Not many were shocked when Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell reconciled in spite of Kirkconnel’s past participation in a racist-themed party resurfacing. James told After the Final Rose special host Emmanuel Acho that he couldn’t continue the relationship at the time and that Kirkconnell needed to work on herself. But rumors swirled that the two continued spending time together and that James was only pretending to be done with Kirkconnell to save face as the first Black lead on The Bachelor.
Acho gave his take on the couple’s relationship during a recent episode of the Off The Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe podcast.
"I haven't commented on this publicly yet," Acho said after Bristow asked what he thought about the pair. "I hit up Matt privately, I hit up Rachael privately, but never publicly. I'm happy for them."
He continued, noting that James was in love with Kirkconnell and despite his disappointment in her past actions, people have room to grow.
"I knew they at least needed to be together in the interim," Acho said. "Why? Because he fell in love with an individual. He fell in love with an individual not cognizant of the individual's past actions. Now, the individual's past actions don't necessarily define the individual in the present, unless that's still who she is. And so, as I'm sitting there asking Matt all these questions [on After the Final Rose], I'm just like, he's not going to be with her right now because he can't, and I will say what Matt couldn't say and maybe Matt wouldn't want to say, but as a Black man, y'all don't understand.”
Ironically enough, Acho stepped in to host After the Final Rose after Chris Harrison caped for Rachael Kirkconnell and now...he's seemingly doing it?
Acho’s comments about Sha’Carri Richardson and the conversation about legalizing marijuana usage in sports differ vastly from his opinions on James and Kirkconnell. The former NFL star is against the idea, with Awful Announcing noting he wrote on Twitter, “Legalizing weed in track and field competition is all good if you’re running in a straight line. Legalizing weed in track and field competition is terribly dangerous if you throw the javelin. Where do we draw the line?”
Many find Acho’s comments hypocritical as both instances involve race. Some feel he’s being harder on a Black woman for a mistake but giving Kirkconnell a pass. It looks like folks aren't surprised.
1. Emmanuel Acho is a clown.— Caleb Dume vas Rannoch (@pfunk1130) July 28, 2021
2. Matt James was never serious about not pursuing a relationship with ole gal. He was saving face for the tv. https://t.co/s5Q5uMPAz8
I’ll never forgive y’all for making me know Emmanuel Acho existed https://t.co/wlOCqPvmHK— Annalise Skeeting (@wittykitty5) July 28, 2021